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Founded on the belief that every day on Broadway can be brunch, Americana becomes a Capitol Hill COVID-19 closure

(Image: Americana)

The chef who came out of the kitchen to take over and grow a Capitol Hill weekend brunch favorite into a Capitol Hill every day of the week brunch favorite says he plans to stay far away from the restaurant business.

Chef Jeffrey Wilson — a man who loves cooking so much he signs his email Cheffrey — has announced that Broadway’s Americana has permanently closed.

“The seating capacity was not our limitation,” Wilson said.

The restaurant capacity restrictions part of attempts to slow the spread of COVID-19 didn’t matter in the end for Americana, Wilson said. After taking on Ads Paycheck Protection Program loans to pay his workers as he kept the restaurant closed for weeks, Wilson reopened Americana as restrictions were lifted only to find that much of his dining business had disappeared.

His decision to close was made all the more obvious as he watched the numbers at the Broadway Alley restaurant. “The month leading up to it was a drastic decline in sales,” Wilson said.

Takeout and delivery weren’t going to bridge the gap. Americana — and, yes, its daily brunch — would have to close permanently.

Americana was born in 2011 when the previous ownership sold Table 219 to Wilson, their chef eager to launch his own concept. Wilson had been at the restaurant since joining at the end of its days as El Greco where the power of brunch filled tables every weekend. After taking over, he rebooted the restaurant as Americana and dedicated the menu to a creative take on American comfort food with a brunch schedule appropriate to the neighborhood and the food and drink industry workers whose Tuesday and Wednesday might be their Saturday and Sunday. Add boozy milkshakes and a growing following even in non-brunch hours, and Americana was cruising even with a failed expansion in Maple Leaf

But Wilson said the outbreak and the economic fallout has been too much. When he opened Americana, his family was ready to welcome a child and he knew depending on a restaurant business as the family’s sole income was a massive risk. “This is a really bad idea,” Wilson said. “But I saw a lot of potential.”

Nine years later, that potential has run its course. Wilson is skeptical that the restaurant industry will recover anytime soon — especially in an expensive neighborhood like Capitol Hill.

King County officials say the outbreak has again been on the rise in Seattle and across the county as state officials rolled out new restrictions on bars last week to try to slow the spread.

“It’s a combination of people worried about spending money,” Wilson says, “and worried about their health.”

Capitol Hill and Central District COVID-19 Crisis Closures: CHS has tried to confirm all reported statuses. Please let us know if any information needs to be updated -- LAST UPDATED: 9/15/20

Food and drink

  • Marination Station, announced 9/14/20
  • Ha Na, announced 8/27/20
  • Intrigue Coffeehouse, announced 8/21/20
  • Nates Wings & Waffles, Happy Grillmore and the Central District Ice Cream Company, announced 8/6/20
  • Americana, Broadway, announced 7/23/20
  • The Lounge by AT&T and Ada’s Discovery Cafe, E Thomas, announced 7/7/20
  • Bill's Off Broadway, E Pine, announced 6/24/20
  • Stumptown, 12th Ave, announced 5/26/20
  • Adana, 15th and Pine, announced 5/21/20
  • Tougo, 18th and Union, announced early April, Yesler location remains open
  • My Thai, 10th Ave E, closed but we're not sure when it shuttered

Retail and more

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8 thoughts on “Founded on the belief that every day on Broadway can be brunch, Americana becomes a Capitol Hill COVID-19 closure

  1. To the team at Americana, thank you. Thank you for being so amazing, comforting, welcoming and overall great neighbors. I will always remember you.

  2. Nooo!!! This was one of our favorite weeknight dinner spots. The staff was always super friendly, and they had the best free truffle popcorn. I will miss them and their amazing fig Manhattan.

  3. This is heartbreaking news. My husband and I just moved back to Seattle, right before the lockdown started. When we lived in England, we regularly used to remember our regular breakfasts at Americana with a sigh. We moved right down the street, excited to have regular brunch there again, and then lockdown and now this. I know in the scheme of things this is not the saddest story but my heart is broken to read this. I loved you Americana! Go dragons! :(

  4. Sorry to see you go Americana! Greedy Landlords wants percentage rent on businesses that already have super low margins. No restaurant owner should ever agree to pay base rent plus a percentage of sales.

  5. Noooo! I live across the street from Americana. It’s my ‘Cheers’ place. I loved the food, drinks and everyone who worked there. When I first moved here, I mentioned I had nowhere to go for Thanksgiving and the staff invited me to their private Thanksgiving dinner that Cheffrey cooked. I’m so sad.

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